This past week our preteens made lasting memories as they enjoyed pizza, funnoodles, and small group shenanigans during our Turf War. This annual event draws a crowd as each small group is battling to get the first pick on their small group rooms. While the activity itself is different each year, the Turf War promotes small group ministry, builds strong teams, and involves a lot of friendly competition. Here are a few steps to help you host a simple Turf War for your kids ministry.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
You don’t need to have all the details outlined to begin planning but a great place to start is by simply marking the date on your calendar. This gives you a goal to aim for and the deadline to make it happen. If you’re like me, great ideas don’t happen until you write them down.
ENLIST SMALL GROUP LEADERS
Explain to your small group leaders why you are hosting this event. Is your goal to grow numerically? Do you want to build camaraderie on your existing teams? Are you looking for something fun for small groups to do together? Determine why you would like to host this event and make sure your team understands the purpose.
After you have your small group leaders on board you need to get the kids excited. For our Turf War, the preteens were excited to compete for their rooms. Those who earned great rooms the previous year wanted to defend their turf while new small groups wanted to get in on the action. We assigned team colors and asked the kids to represent their teams well. By the time the week arrived the students were boldly wearing the color’s and bringing friends to build their team’s depth.
LINE UP THE DETAILS
Now is the hard part that may require a lot of work your first year. Create your plan and your backup plan because let’s be honest, it never goes exactly how we think it should. Schedule out how much time it will take to eat, what your transitions will look like, who needs to be where and when, and how much food these preteens are going to devour! Think through details like how you will determine a winner, what to do if there is a tie, and who will treat injuries.
DETERMINE YOUR GAME
Each of our Turf War events has a different game and competition. Last year we hosted a multiple team capture the flag type battle where each team was protecting their turf while also trying to get materials from their opponents. This year, we hosted olympic type competitions that revolved around funnoodles. I will attach a PDF with more info to this post if you want to read more about this year’s battle.
LEAD OR ASSIGN LEADERS
When the event comes, it will make things run smoother if your team can look to the leader. If this is you, practice what you need to say, and know the rules. If you are assigning leaders, make sure they have clear job descriptions and expectations. Nothing frustrates kids more than when games fall apart or are perceived as unfair. Know how you are going to handle situations when they arrive and be prepared to take on the responsibility.
Hosting a Turf War type event can be a great opportunity to connect your students and their small group leaders. If you have an idea for the game we could do next year leave it in the comments. If you have any questions about hosting a Turf War, just let me know!